Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor

Property taxes

I believe the problem of senior citizens being driven from their homes by runaway property tax increases can be solved fairly and equitably. Go back to the year the homeowner/occupant turned 65 years of age. Start with the property tax assessed that year, then increase that tax by the same percentage as any increases in Social Security payments.

Larry Marostica, Boise

BCT

I just returned from an out-of-town trip to read about the BCT story. I have known Matthew Cameron Clark for over 10 years. I have never met a more caring, professional man than Matt. I want to say to Board of Trustees President Will (Fowler) that you have lost the money I contribute each season as well as my membership. I realize that I don’t know the entire story, but I know Matthew, and I think you have made a mistake. Those of us who attended regularly enjoyed the shows that were brought in each season. I am sure I will not be the only one to stop attending the theater.

Rex Robert McCoy, Boise

Valley growth

Each of the valley’s outlying cities have somewhat unique profiles: Some are agriculture based; some military influenced; some are tourist and outdoors minded. We should seek ways of helping those communities develop their own, expanded sphere of influence. With new employers come new jobs, housing, business and increased tax revenues. They could afford to expand their anticipated infrastructure needs while covering those costs with new, local revenue.

Without such an intentional plan for decentralized sources of employment, our valley will just morph into a metro area of suburbs, jammed freeways and roads emanating from Boise-Meridian-Nampa. These cities could seek businesses that would be a good fit for the their community, the prospective employers and that population.

We should incentivize these communities with temporary, new-business-tax reductions and assistance for expanding infrastructure. The short-term burden on the Boise-centered economy would be a worthy investment toward enhanced growth and eventual self-sustaining cities, which now are simply undefined and dependent cost centers on the state’s budget burden.

A great example of a city that did this very thing is Chico, Butte County, California. They were a small, agriculture and college town with a nice airport. They sought companies that needed convenient access to an airport and were environmentally friendly. Today, Chico is a thriving, self-sustaining city.

Mike Walters, Meridian

Assault weapons

First: Ban all assault weapons, including buy-back for those already in civilian hands. Same for magazines exceeding five rounds. Maybe it has already been said, but let’s start a registry of weapon “fingerprints” (on the bullet), similar to the FBI human fingerprint registry. And store it on Cloud Nine. If a weapon gets used in a crime, it better not be yours. Yeah, I know. We already keep a lot of records. Driver’s licenses, car registrations, plus license plates. And in Ada County we even keep records about whether your car passed the emissions test. And look at the amount of money spent to keep airline passengers safe. (So don’t talk to me about records about who owns what gun.) It’s way past time to stop this endless slaughter.

William J. “Bill” Wilson, Boise

Trump

Everything Donald Trump touches turns to manure. His tax cut has led to trillion-dollar-a-year deficits. His “easy-to-win” trade war with China is destroying the world economy and leading to another Republican recession. His get-tough policy with Iran is leading to war.

But perhaps the most dangerous action that Trump is contemplating is privatizing Social Security and turning Medicare into a voucher system. As pointed out recently in Forbes, Republicans are already talking about Trump’s second term and how they will eliminate Social Security and Medicare, something they have long wanted to do.

For decades, Republicans have operated under the “starve-the-beast” plan where they cut taxes for the rich then wail about the ensuing deficits, claiming that the only way to eliminate the deficits is to cut Social Security and Medicare. Republicans are now talking about a “National Conservatism” which sounds eerily like “National Socialism” (and we know how well that worked in Germany). In their push for total power, Republicans seem to think this is 1930s Germany where the Right will rise up to crush everyone else. But what if we’re not living in 1930s Germany? What if this is 1790s Paris? Watch your necks, Republicans. The workers are restless.

Gary L. Bennett, Boise

Biodiversity

Somewhere out there someone is singing a prayer that we will find it in ourselves to do the right thing to save our natural heritage. Maybe that person calls Boise home. Or Jordan Valley. Or a burg between here and there. That heritage includes the flora and fauna of Idaho, a panoply that includes the state bird, the Mountain Bluebird, and the Gem State’s state tree, the western white pine. It also encompasses the greater sage grouse.

This cornerstone of the pie of biodiversity that we all live with, whether we realize it or not, is in trouble for many of the same reasons as the Xerces Blue butterfly is extinct: the loss of habitat. The ecological transition of habitat from one plant community to another is a mere blip on the natural-heritage radar screen.

Human-caused factors are responsible for the big slice labeled “loss”: the fragmentation and destruction of habitat by road-building, digging and drilling for fossil fuels, livestock grazing, off-road-vehicle playgrounds and sprawl development among them.

Somewhere out there, caring folks are trying to do the right thing. As the situation is today, though, it remains a campaign marked by loss after loss.

Alan C. Gregory, Mountain Home

BSU president

The Aug. 18 “puff piece” on BSU’s new president Marlene Tromp shows how blind Idaho is to the real needs of students. First of all, shouldn’t the Idaho Statesman be writing about the professors, who, in most colleges, create the school’s reputation? What student is going to be motivated by a two-page story of a bureaucrat? Tromp is yet just another admin exec who is glamorized as having some magic strategic potential to fix Idaho’s education woes. But she’s part of the problem, because the bloated admin salaries create student debt, which is the number one reason Idaho students don’t attend college: cost. Also, talking about “community” while jetting around the state and country, is oxymoronic. She should be in her office, “minding the store,” but she’s too glamorous for that. Her first initiative, to create a diversity and inclusion program, blindly tries to import poisonous liberal identity politics. After all, on what basis did Tromp do this? On the mere fact that Idaho is mostly white? Therefore she assumes minorities feel left out? Naturally, it blew up in her face, showing her poor judgment. Stop with the hagiography of college presidents already.

Rob Grosson, Boise

Respectful discussion

I appreciated Scott McIntosh’s editorial about talking respectfully. A national organization called Better Angels and others like it have formed to address our polarization. These groups strive to change the way we relate to others, so we don’t view each other as enemies. The name Better Angels came from this Abraham Lincoln quote: “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” Better Angels offers skill workshops on how to have political discussions. They also offer workshops that bring people of different political views together to share and learn in a facilitated non-argumentative environment. Several in the Boise area have volunteered their time to moderate and sponsor these workshops. A workshop entitled “How to Talk Across the Political Divide” is being offered through Boise Community Education. For information about Better Angels go to https://www.better-angels.org/. You can also find other Idaho events listed on the site and can join the effort to bring us together.

Robert L. Hanson, Boise

Kustra column

Two recent examples of the Statesman’s irrational approach to second amendment gun rights were evident in the Aug. 25 Sunday Statesman. First was a bizarre theory advanced by the usually logical former BSU President, Bob Kustra. His recommendation that the solution to much-desired control of firearms and the problems facing America because of the evil NRA is to adopt the approach of the “Mothers against Drunk Driving” movement of the mid 20th century. Talk about “apples and oranges,” the suggestion that “drunk drivers” should be compared to “armed citizens” is comparing apples to pizza. Such silly analogies add nothing to the issue other than well-intended demonetization of gun ownership.

The second example was (as usual) an Associated Press article favoring “Red Flag Laws.” Yet another effort to adopt a clearly unconstitutional assault on civil liberties and specifically due process rights. Once this dangerous process is adopted, it will open the door to the much-desired “right” of local governments to arrest people (and to take them and/or their firearms into custody) based on the “say so” of anyone. A much less dangerous law already exists in Idaho with substantially more due process protections than are now advocated. Silliness.

Jim C. Harris, Boise

Sen. Crapo

All too frequently, expensive one-page ads and “trigger words” contained in those ads can momentarily cloud the reader’s judgment. Such is the case of the ad that was sponsored by FreedomWorks, Inc. and appeared in the Idaho Statesman. The ad is “asking” us to thank Sen. Crapo for his opposing vote on “socialist price controls.” What the content of the ad fails to express is legislation for Drug Fair Pricing was discussed in the Senate Finance Committee on July 25 and a compromise bi-partisan bill co-sponsored by the Senate Finance chairs Sen. Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Wyden, D-Oregon, was put forward for a vote. The committee vote was 19-9 and, yes, Sen. Crapo voted against that compromise proposal. The powerful pharmaceutical lobby is also opposed to this compromise measure on drug fair pricing. How do Sen.Crapo’s constituents benefit from his vote exactly?

Mary Lou Kinney, Boise

Climate change

Climate change dark side: famine. Ten deadliest famines with 59,156,000 deaths occurred between AD 1601 and 1929. World population explosion identifies the devastation of famines. But for the Industrial Revolution — 1750 to 1850 — that led to effective means of storing food and mechanized agriculture, famines would have been far more deadly.

World population in 1317 — start of the Little Ice Age — was about 400,000. By 1880 it was 1.4 billion; by 1980 it was 4.5 billion. In the last 39 years, it jumped to 7.6 billion.

Iceland, Germany, Portugal and Poland now have zero population growth. Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia have negative population growth. World population now grows at 1.1% per year. One large segment of world population now grows at 1.8% per year.

A problem that adds to current anxiety involves references to the “hottest temperature ever recorded,” global temperatures did not exist until about 1880. “Record high temperatures are limited to highs during the Little Ice Age. Rising ocean levels result from global warming. World leaders must choose between accepting global warming with loss of land near coastal waters or stopping global warming and accepting the devastation of worldwide famine caused by global cooling.

Robert E. Launhardt, Pinehurst

BSU president

Boise State University’s President Marlene Tromp appears to bring the life experiences and skill set, like her predecessor Dr. Kustra, to continue the university’s rapid upward trajectory and ultimately realization of its full potential. I appreciate Dr. Tromp’s focus on innovation, including in finding more efficient ways of fulfilling the university’s mission. The current government-guaranteed student loan program is unsustainable, and efficient institutions will be better positioned to thrive in the coming era. Concentration of our state’s population within the Treasure Valley, combined with other positive factors, indicate that the university’s growth will continue to outperform. It is incumbent on our governor and Legislature to begin allocating a more proportionate share of higher education funding to BSU, where the return on investment will be greatest. This is not only the proper thing to do, it is also the wisest direction to take. This will be necessary to allow BSU to effectively compete with the universities nationally which will increasingly be its peers. Boise State University is uniquely positioned and as this vision of it becoming a national leader is realized private funds to the university, both academic and athletic, will grow exponentially, compounding the return on investment to taxpayers.

Joe Russell, Boise

Support Scigliano

Boise has been fortunate over the past 20 years, but our city is at a crossroads. What do you want Boise to look like as it continues to grow over the next decade? Like you, I care about this deeply. This is why I am supporting Brittney Scigliano for Seat 1 on Boise’s City Council.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Brittney over the last few years. Her bold, youthful attitude, her creativity, and her interest in people are strong assets. As a neighborhood association president, Brittney worked with city leaders to develop better rules for engaging with neighborhood associations. She helped start a nonprofit to help our senior populations live in their homes with dignity. Brittney has shown great capability in bringing people together. Brittney has a strong sense of community. She has a desire to make Boise a home for all of its residents. Political ambition is not part of her calculus. She strives to use her strengths where she knows she can do her best work for her city.

I hope you will join me in giving her your vote on Nov. 5.

Alan Shealy, Boise

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